Images credit GreenGlue
We do go on about the importance of urbanity as a solution for reducing carbon emissions. Our post Soundproofing and Climate Change noted that condos and apartments used 70% less energy than houses (they are smaller and have far less surface area), and that was before one even considered their transportation intensity.
But the biggest complaint that people have about multifamily living is noise. That's why Green Glue is so interesting: They claim that it cuts noise transmission up to 90%.
Green Glue works by "decoupling", "or mechanically separating the two sides of a wall to make it harder for sound to pass through the wall. It was developed by a home theater installer who was unhappy with sound proofing systems, particularly at low frequencies. He consulted with a research and development firm specializing in viscoelastic materials, who came up with the stuff. It's not cheap; a typical room uses three to five cases at $ 160 a pop. It also seems extremely wasteful to sell it in caulking tubes; it takes two for single sheet of drywall. Doing one room means throwing thirty tubes in the garbage. But they do sell it in pails as well.
On the other hand, most methods of sound control involve mechanical systems like resilient channels, that are often poorly installed, and allow flanking noise around the edges. This stuff seals it up tight. Green Glue also has one of the most thorough and complete websites I have ever seen for a building product- reading it is an education.
If we are to affect climate change through urbanization (and we must), we also must deal with the noise issue directly. This isn't about saving a few dollars or doing it the old way because it's good enough to meet code. Instead, it is about significantly decreasing CO2 emissions while giving the home-buying public good reasons to move into and enjoy quality urban settings. They will do that only if builders, developers and building owners address their number one complaint: noise.
It is a big problem, and we need all the tools we can get. More at Green Glue
More on Noise and Urbanity
Dense, Walkable Urban Cities Create YIMBY Neighbors
Soundproofing and Climate Change
This post was the result of a submission by a reader; See Architects and Designers: Send Us Your Stuff, Whether It Is "Sexy and Dangerous" Or Just Really Green